Different people keep different hobbies for specific reasons. Some of those reasons seem logical, but there are those that might sound nonsensical to people at first. The same can be said of people who collect specific items in their lifetime.
The most common example is the traveler collecting refrigerator magnets as souvenirs of past journeys. And then there are those who collect specific items that may or may not increase in value over time, such as old coins or money bills, stamps, and even autographs.
Signed And Sealed Over Time
Did you know that the term ‘autograph’ has been interchangeably used to refer to a person’s handwriting or signature and a manuscript? This term has also long been used to refer to a person’s written document.
Here are some intriguing and worthwhile trivia about autograph-collecting:
The practice of collecting historic autographs involves hunting for rare signature specimens of important historical figures. For example, William Shakespeare had only six known signatures considered the most valuable autographs in the world. According to autograph authorities, one of these signatures may cost around USD$15 million today.
Collectors of autographs also like collecting handwritten works of historical figures. If the original handwritten plays were found, Shakespeare’s world-renowned manuscripts of either Romeo and Juliet or Othello could easily command a staggering amount of around USD$100 million in the autograph market.
Autographs signed by criminals and assassins have high value among autograph collectors. These people’s signatures are scarce and limited in stock because these types of individuals usually tend to clean up their traces so as not to be found.
Former US Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy are both avid autograph collectors. But between the two, JFK’s autographs were among the most desirable items in the autograph market. This is due to the scarcity of JFK’s real autographs as he was known to use autograph-signing machines to sign letters and documents. One authentic autograph by JFK costs around USD$7,000.
Factors That Influence An Autographs’ Monetary Value
Philography or autograph collecting is a purposeful practice. Most collectors accumulate collectible items due to two major reasons: sentimental and monetary value.
The following are major determinants that influence an autograph’s monetary value:
Popularity Of The Person
An autograph’s monetary value is primarily determined by the popularity of the person who signed it. Authentic autographs signed by prominent personalities, such as inventors, writers, artists, scientists, and politicians have high value in the autograph market.
A Person’s Age Prior To Their Death
One interesting factor that affects an autograph’s monetary value is related to the death of the signee. Signatures of Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, and Jean Harlow are considered to be valuable due to their untimely death. Their death leads to the scarcity of their autographs because there’ll be no more succeeding ones to supply to the market.
Types Of Signed Collectables
There are several variables that affect an autograph’s monetary valuation. For some collectors, the type of collectibles that were signed will have varying degrees of worth. For instance, some appraise a signed photograph as more valuable than a simple signature left on an album page because the latter is most probably commonly seen in the autograph market.
5 Reasons To Start Collecting Autographs
The practice of philography or collecting authentic autographs is done by collectors for various reasons. Here are five of them:
- Source Of Monetary Gain
Most collectors primarily gather collectible items due to their monetary benefits. Autograph collecting can also be used to sustain your financial needs as these items can be sold and purchased by other collectors or even by historical societies. Some art or entertainment establishments also conduct periodic auctions featuring autographed items of famous people.
As discussed above, there are certain autographs considered as collector’s items due to their rarity and notoriety. People collect vintage collectibles to gain financial gain, and this is a common reason why the practice of philography has become a worthwhile hobby.
- Good Form Of Investment
Gathering genuine autographs from notable personalities is an ideal investment process for some. A simple hobby to some people can become a stable source of income for you. With the right skill of determining the authenticity of a certain collectible, accumulating authentic autographs can be financially rewarding if you plan to hold on to them and resell later for a higher profit.
- Provides Profound Connection With Your Idol
Aside from financial benefits, most collectors gather items due to their sentimental value. In this case, autographs remind collectors of several people who they admire the most, especially their idols who influenced them. Autograph collecting is a gratifying activity as this provides a deeper connection to your favorite celebrities or even to several prominent personalities in history.
Those who collect historical autographs for this purpose tend to hold on to their collection without thinking of selling them later on.
- Serves As A Remembrance
Autographs remind people of certain memorable events in their lives. For some, acquiring their favorite personality’s autograph is a treasure that helps them reminisce specific periods. Collecting autographs allow you to possess physical versions of your most treasured moments, not just the memories. These signed items could serve as souvenirs of particular places, time, and eras.
- Preserve A Piece Of History
As time passed, several historical memorabilia have been lost to the world due to some handling conditions. This significantly affected the demand for authentic signatures signed by prominent figures in the history of the human race. Hence, it gave way to the rise in the value of several vintage collectible items.
Fortunately, there are private enterprises that help in the re-accumulation of these historical autographs. Whenever they’re collected, these autographs were returned to archives, libraries, and historical societies where they’ll be preserved and protected. Collecting autographs allow people to keep a little piece of history.
History serves as a bridge that links people to their past irrespective of their race, religion, beliefs, and culture. The practice of collecting autographs helps in preserving a portion of that past. The value of these signatures may vary depending on how you see them. But what matters the most is that you learn how to value what others may perceive as treasures.